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Waitangi Day

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, February 6th, 2011 - 24 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, maori party, national - Tags:

Happy Waitangi Day. Hope you have something relaxing planned.

Is there any other country in the world with such a complex and controversial national holiday? Right from the start the events surrounding Waitangi Day have been as contentious and as central to our national character as Te Tiriti itself. The day serves as an annual barometer of the state of Maori political opinion, and their relationship with the government of the day.

Interesting then to compare this year with the last. Last year Key was welcomed without incident. The event was comparatively low key, Key’s speech focused on “nationhood” and “togetherness”. Stuff reported “Few grievances amid day of treaty celebrations”.

At time of writing Waitangi Day 2011 is hardly under way, but early indications from the welcome yesterday are that it is likely to be more eventful:

Tempers simmer ahead of Waitangi Day

The temperature soared and tempers simmered at Waitangi Day celebrations in the Far North today. Celebrations got off to a fiery start when Prime Minister John Key was met with protests labelling him “the enemy” as he arrived at Te Tii Marae this morning.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, who is embroiled in an internal party dispute with Hone Harawira, also copped flak from some hecklers who labelled him a traitor who was “kissing John Key’s ass”. Key admitted this afternoon that the tension at Waitangi had been “heightened this year”.

In other coverage:

Key shrugs off Waitangi heckling

Prime Minister John Key has shrugged off abuse levelled at him during his arrival at Waitangi today, saying that there are always tensions. Key was heckled as he made his way into the meeting house at Waitangi this morning.

Wikitana Popata yelled at the Key through a loud hailer before being subdued by security staff. Popata yelled “you stole our land, you killed our people” and said the “enemy was amongst us”. Key acknowledged that there was some tension during his arrival, but appeared unfazed by the comments, saying that he has “been called worse.” …

Key played down tensions saying that friction within the Maori Party may have contributed to the atmosphere. “I’ve come to learn that that there will always be a range of views up here. This time there was a bit more tension and I think that reflects that there is tension between Hone Harawira and the Maori Party.”

That tension is largely over the Maori Party’s support for the National led government but Key argues it better than being in opposition … Key said Treaty settlements were important but he cautioned against a “grievance based rearward looking” approach. …

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples came under fire while speaking on the lower marae. Sharples was subjected to shouts of “Kupapa” which can be translated as traitor.

Clearly dissatisfaction with the Maori Party, and its support for a government with policies that actively damage low income New Zealand, is starting to boil over. Phil Goff sums up:

Goff said Labour’s relationship with Maori is strong, but that the divisions in New Zealand were centred over rich and poor. “The division today is between those that are rich and privileged and becoming even wealthier and the rest of New Zealand being left behind.

With Hone Harawira serving as a lightening rod, the Maori Party can’t keep a lid on the tensions generated by its support for National much longer. We live in interesting times. With warnings of gang unrest, let’s hope the rest of Watangi Day passes without incident.

24 comments on “Waitangi Day ”

  1. Carol 1

    And then there’s this:


    LATEST: The Maori Party is in crisis this morning, with co-leader Pita Sharples suggesting rogue MP Hone Harawira could “cut himself loose” after an inflammatory speech delivered an hour before Sharples.

    Hone’s position in the party now looks pretty untenable. And he’s aligning himself with The Greens.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      Well, there’s a backhanded compliment if ever I saw one. How many votes is that going to cost the Greens, do ya think?

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        If he actually officially joined the Greens, which I’m not seriously suggesting as a likely outcome, it would somewhat solve their 5% threshold problems.

        Really it seems like Hone can do his own horse-trading between political parties as if he were forming a coalition – you do something I like, and I’ll provide the safe electorate seat to get you into parliament.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        I don’t think it would cost them any. Might even increase their vote share. I’m not so certain that he’d fit well though – the Greens seems to have lost their activism and become mainstream.

        • Tigger

          That word ‘mainstream’ really annoys me. Brash used it. Harawira just used it. It’s designed to be divisive, us and them rather than us who all happen to be different.

          I’d argue there is no such thing as ‘mainstream’ because you can always cut society into different chunks or divide it up in different ways. For example, as a gay man I think Harawira and his party are ‘mainstream’. So why he’s shouting about how different he is, to me he is ‘the man’ keeping me down.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Sharples insulted by Harawira’s speech

      He said there was a risk the party would collapse if the stand off with Mr Harawira continued, and said it would destroy what was “last chance” for a Maori-based party to succeed in Parliament.

      It certainly looks like Hone isn’t welcome any more but it’s also looking like the leadership don’t want to kick him out 😈

      • ianmac 1.2.1

        “Harawira yesterday told iwi leaders the Green Party would be a better fit for the Maori Party than National. ” And that the Maori Party should be keeping its options open and talking with Greens and labour rather than being tied to National.

  2. IrishBill 2

    Is there any other country in the world with such a complex and controversial national holiday?

    Columbus Day?

  3. nadis 3

    MLK day in the US.

    Try googling “Martin Lucifer C**n”. Have a bottle of disinfectant ready.

    • orange whip? 3.1

      How are you defining “national holiday”?

    • Jilly Bee 3.2

      OMG Nadis – I took the bait and I found a few glasses of Pinot Noir helped to get over it. That was very scary stuff. I guess there’s people in our fair land who have similar thoughts too.
      Captcha – is that the right word – stupid, how apt!

  4. clandestino 4

    Maybe the media should ask what the Wellington earthquake and tsunami ‘prophet’ knows about all these shenanigans?

    • Vicky32 4.1

      Yes, I have to say that scared the living donuts out of me, enough to text my son in Welly, and tell him to be careful..
      He laughed at me, which is a good thing!

  5. Brett 5

    “Grab your guns White people, the Maori are revolting”

    Nothing like Waitangi day to bring out the nuts

    • ianmac 5.1

      I rather like the frankness of some who speak out. Even if the ideas appear “wrong”. But why not have the freedom of speech in a Democracy? In that respect Hone is so exercising his right in spite of risking the upset to the status quo. Hear what he/they are saying. Then decide. Same for Winston actually.

      • Deadly_NZ 5.1.1

        Yeah and a lot of people are scared because he actually makes sense.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.2

        But why not have the freedom of speech in a Democracy?

        That’s what I keep asking Burger King on FaceBook.

        • Nick C

          Lets say that the CEO of Burger King calls for a Maori revolution, and as a result I decide not to go to Burger King any more. Would that be me taking away the right to free speech of Burger King and its CEO?

          • Rosy

            Interesting – if you exercise your right to disagree by removing your custom are you curtailing his right to free speech?

            IMO the CEO needs to consider the consequences of that expression on the moral and ethical values of the people who keep the business in business. Maybe in this case the right to free spech involves stepping down from the company that may be bear the brunt of the backlash – an ethical responisbility that goes alongside the right.

          • orange whip?

            Erroneous comparison. You are not compelled by law to disregard the personal opinions of CEOs in your burger-buying decisions.

            • Nick C

              And Burger King is (arguably) not compelled by law to disregard the opinions of its employees if they voice them in a way which damages the company.

              She may win the case, but if she does it will have nothing to do with free speech, it will be a matter of whether the employer has acted reasonably under current employment laws. Certainly it is concieveable that there are things she could say which would entitle BK to fire her. If she went around repeatedly saying that in her opinion BK food is crap to a large audiance, that would probably be good grounds

              Private individuals and organisations are perfectly entitled to impose costs on you (such as not liking you, not voting for you, not eating at your restaurant) for stuff you say. Its only when the government steps in to impose costs on those speaking that it is an attack on free speech. Individuals judge others on what they say and change legal, commercial and personal relationships with them based on it every day. If that was a restriction on free speech it would be a pretty crazy world.

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